Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

First drive review: Renault Clio dCi 90

Posted: 13 Oct 2012 01:48 AM PDT

The new 2013 Renault Clio dCi 90 offers 60mpg-plus and exceptional refinement from its 1.5-litre diesel engine The model that's most likely to be the best-seller in the new Renault Clio 4 line-up. The Clio dCi 90 gets the latest version of the firm's familiar 1.5-litre turbodiesel dCi engine, now with more torque, better economy and lower CO2 emissions than ever before.The 1461cc direct-injection unit has headline figures of 89bhp at 4000rpm and 162lb ft at 1750rpm, some 15lb ft before than before. Economy is up by 12.5mpg over the engine in the Clio 3 to 83.1mpg, while CO2 emissions are down by 16g/km to 90g/km.And next year there'll be an even more frugal 'ECO' version of the engine, which produces the same power and torque, but delivers class-leading economy and CO2 figures of 88.3mpg and 83g/km respectively, achieved without any electrical assistance.The engine is tested here in Dynamique MediaNav trim, which is tipped to take up the largest proportion of Clio 4 sales. Included on this trim level are 16in alloys and an exterior styling pack, with a 7in touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav among the interior's standard kit list.

Vauxhall/Opel 'to merge with Peugeot-Citroen'

Posted: 12 Oct 2012 05:22 PM PDT

New joint venture company could see mega-merger of four brands

General Motor's European division could be merged with Peugeot-Citroen, according to media reports emerging from France. The reports say that Vauxhall-Opel would be merged into a new joint venture company with Peugeot-Citroen. GM would own a 30 per cent stake in the joint venture and would inject £6.2 billion for future product development.

According to Automotive News Europe, this tentative plan is said to have been one of a number of ideas being considered by the management teams of PSA and GM, including selling Opel outright to PSA or GM buying PSA's automotive division.

Neither GM or PSA would comment on the leaks.

At the moment, the alliance between GM Europe and PSA has centred on a range of future models, including replacements for the Insignia and C5/408, a rival for Renault's budget Dacia line-up, a super-economy supermini and a range of compact SUVs.

Although some are speculating that the French Government might resist the idea of a PSA-GME joint-venture, a 70 per cent controlling stake for the French and the fact that this deal may be the only way of saving PSA from collapsing in the medium term could prove the decisive factors.

Both GM Europe and PSA are losing huge amounts of money in the face of the downturn in the European market, a situation driven by their under-utilised factories and the need to discount showroom prices. GM Europe is expected to lose nearly a £1bn in 2012, a situation which is affecting the health of GM globally. PSA is said to be burning £161 million in cash each month.

Merging the four mass-market brands would, eventually, pay dividends by allowing them to build much larger numbers of cars on each platform, saving significant money on product development costs and by running the JV factories at above 85 per cent capacity.

The downsides are that more than one factory in any PSA-GM alliance would have to close - a concern for the UK's Ellesmere Port plant which recently got the contract to produce the 2015 Astra. Also, the merging of most models onto common platforms would take upwards of five years, time that PSA and GME might not have in the current market conditions.

Dividing up the engineering work between France and Germany could prove controversial, although GM's Russelsheim Engineering HQ could be fully retained by GM because it carries out work on global basis.

At this stage, the merger proposal is still at an outline stage, but if it does clear potential hurdles, it is unlikely to get the green light before the end of the year.

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